Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Tarmachan wading, Lurchers and Sneachda swimming

Hi Kris,
Nice to be North of the border again and to catch up with you. We went for a wade up to Cam Chreag on Meal nan Tarmachan on Saturday, to find a very heavily snowed up crag that seemed to be less frozen than we were (see first photo).
Sunday brought better weather and conditions on Lurchers crag, with some patches of well frozen turf on the crag and a fairly light cover of fresh snow on top. Unfortunately Friday's thaw only seemed to have gone up to about 800m in the Cairngorms so the snow in the gullies was useless and we didn't fancy floundering around in it, so did a nice route up one of the ribs. Nice sunset and great day to be out in the hills.
On Monday we headed in to Sneachda, which was ok to start off with but we didn't brave the slope up to the Message due to a serious weak layer about 20cm down into the snowpack. We got on Honeypot instead, which was good to start off with and had some ice and neve on the edges of the rocks but useless powder over the ledges. Conditions quickly deteriorated, so unfortunately I had to back off the top pitch just below the crux as everything was getting blasted with spindrift. This started building up some really weak slab, which I triggered a small soft slab avalanche on the exit slopes whilst blinded by spindrift. It was a day to be pleased with just getting a route done safely!
It all needs a decent thaw and reasonable freeze to be honest. Skiing looked good though!

Here you will find reports of what we have been up to and the current
weather conditions from where we have been.